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New Hampshire woman sues Bush, top officials, over 9-11

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A New Hampshire woman whose husband was aboard one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center has sued President Bush and other top officials, alleging that their negligence of airport security resulted in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Ellen Mariani’s husband, Louis Neil Mariani, was a passenger in the United Airlines plane that hit the south tower. Her lawyer, Philip Berg, of Lafayette Hill, said the suit was part of Mariani’s campaign to “get to the truth of what happened on Sept. 11.”

“We just don’t believe the federal government has been honest with us,” said Berg, a Democratic activist and former gubernatorial candidate.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed Sept. 12 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, also names Vice President Dick Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Mariani, of Derry, N.H., in December 2001 filed the first lawsuit against United Airlines relating to the terrorist attacks, claiming the airline failed to protect passengers from the hijackers.

Though Louis Mariani, 58, a retired sales coordinator for H.P. Hood, died without life insurance and left little money, his wife has decided to forgo the money of the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund set up for victims’ families. The suit seeks unspecified money damages.

Berg said Mariani also has retained him to take over her suit against United Airlines, pending before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan.

Mariani was referred to him by a local radio talk-show host who was interviewing her, Berg said.

Mariani’s lawsuit also names the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Council on Foreign Relations.


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